Former komusubi Iwakiyama, who suffered a minor stroke this spring, said Sunday he decided to call time on his career rather than risk a threat to his life.
Iwakiyama, who had fallen in the ranks to the second-tier juryo division, joined his stable-master Sakaigawa to announce his retirement on the final day of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan.
“My wife told me that it will be useless if I push myself into an early grave. This was the best choice,” Iwakiyama said.
On the same day, Iwakiyama, 34, assumed the sumo elder name Sekinoto and will coach at the Sakaigawa stable. He has been out of action since the summer meet in May.
Iwakiyama had undergone treatment since his stroke in April and resumed training but realized he had reached his limit after dropping below 150 kg ahead of the Tokyo meet.
“It would take me at least six months to get my body back in form,” he said.
Iwakiyama made his professional sumo debut in 2000 and earned promotion to sumo’s fourth-highest rank of komusubi in 2003.